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Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is a grrrreat day, 420. I have 420'd all my appropriate friends today in celebration of this festive holiday..., may it never become a tainted, corrupted 'federal holiday'.

Brings back bad memories. Now the prices are going back up. We have more oil than EVER before and yet the prices are rising.


So this has to do with, the Lucas Brothers . . . .

Today is April 20, known as 420 Day, which is now well-referenced in popular culture as referring to marijuana. Four states and the District of Columbia have passed recreational marijuana legislation. Here's a look at pending legislation in Congress. Share your voice on POPVOX!

POPVOX Issue Alert

Hi there, POPVOX user,

You weighed in on a bill related to marijuana, and we wanted to share with you today's Issue Spotlight on Federal Marijuana Legislation

A Look at Marijuana Legislation on "420 Day"

Today is April 20, known as "420 Day", which is now well-referenced in popular culture as referring to marijuana. Even the 2003 California state bill codifying the medical marijuana law voters had approved was named SB 420. While urban legend often points to police code as the origins, Ryan Grim, author of This Is Your Country On Drugs, disagrees. Instead, Ryan was able to trace the roots of 420 to a group of five San Rafael High School friends who coined the term in 1971—when marijuana was very much illegal.


Since then, public perception and public policy around marijuana has changed considerably. In November 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana use. In 2013, US Attorney General Eric Holder said the US Justice Department is "deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time."  And in February 2015, Alaska and the District of Columbia also legalized recreational marijuana use. Oregon passed a similar law via ballot initiative, which goes into effect in July 2015. Additionally, 20 states and Washington, DC have passed laws allowing smoked marijuana to be used for a variety of medical conditions. (Learn more about DC’s marijuana initiative campaign and Congressional review.)

Federal Marijuana Policies

As the Office of National Drug Control Policy points out, "it is important to recognize that these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law." However, in 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder in response to state marijuana laws said the US Justice Department is "deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time."

Throughout early American history, marijuana use was legal under both federal and individual state laws. In fact, from 1850 to 1941, cannabis was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a recognized medicinal. By the end of 1936, however, all 48 states had enacted laws to regulate marijuana.

The federal government's first attempt to regulate marijuana, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the US, but for medical and industrial uses. An excise tax was established for these permitted uses. In 1969, the Supreme Court held the Marijuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional. In 1970, with President Nixon's urging, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act placing marijuana in Schedule I—the most restrictive of five categories for substances with "no currently accepted medical use"—along with heroin, LSD, peyote and psilocybin (mushrooms). Drugs of abuse with recognized medical uses, including opium, cocaine and amphetamine, were assigned to Schedules II through V based on their potential for abuse. (Source: Congressional Research Service.)

Related Bills in Congress

As states take the lead in changing marijuana laws, several bills in Congress have been introduced to regulate marijuana at the federal level:

Small Business Tax Equity Act (HR 1855 and in the Senate, S 987)

  • -- Bipartisan -- “Would reconcile state marijuana laws and federal tax law" and "create an exception to Internal Revenue Code Section 280E to allow marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state law to take deductions associated with the sale of marijuana like any other legal business," according to the bill sponsor.

Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act (HR 1013)

  • -- Bipartisan -- “Removes marijuana from the schedule set by the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulates marijuana like alcohol by inserting into the section of the U.S. Code governing “intoxicating liquors,” according to the bill sponsor.

Marijuana Tax Revenue Act (HR 1014)

  • “Creates a federal excise tax on non-medical marijuana sales and moves this quickly growing industry out of the shadows,” according to the bill sponsor. This bill would also “impose a federal excise tax on the sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes as well as apply an occupational tax for marijuana businesses. The bill would establish civil and criminal penalties for those who fail to comply, like those in place for the tobacco industry. The bill also requires the IRS to produce periodic studies of the marijuana industry and to issue recommendations to Congress. It phases in an excise tax on the sale by a producer (generally the grower) to the next stage of production (generally the processor creating the useable product). This tax is initially set at 10% and rises over time to 25% as the legal market displaces the black market. Medical marijuana is exempt from this tax.”

States' Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act (HR 262)

  • Would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt from civil forfeiture real property seized because of medical marijuana-related conduct in states where it is legal. “Allows medical marijuana patients and businesses--who are complying with state law--the ability to access and distribute marijuana free from federal interference,” according to the bill sponsor.

Veterans Equal Access Act (HR 667)

  • -- Bipartisan -- “Would make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. The Act would authorize VA physicians and other health care providers to provide recommendations and opinions regarding the use of medical marijuana to veterans who live in medical marijuana states,” according to the bill sponsor.

Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act (HR 1635)

  • -- Bipartisan -- "To ensure that children with epilepsy and other debilitating seizure disorders have access to life-changing Cannabidiol (CBD) oil," according to bill sponsors. "Evidence shows that CBD oil has reduced the amount and duration of seizures in individuals suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders; however, CBD is currently banned for medical use at the federal level."

Accountability in Unemployment Act (HR 1136)

  • To require state laws to deny unemployment compensation to applicants unless they undergo drug testing and test negative -- including marijuana. Requires a retest after a 30-day waiting period for applicants who test positive for any one of several specified drugs.


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